No.5 Sorry boss! I fucked up.
Ichi the Killer (2001) – Japan
If we didn’t include a shocking scene from a Takashi Miike film, it would be an insult to this list, and any/shock fan alive. The god of V-Cinema (direct-to- ) has made an entire career, directing over 80 films, specifically making them ultra violent, and breaking the boundaries of censorship. Takashi has also influenced some of the best American directors, such as Quentin Tarantino and specifically (Takashi even had a cameo in Roth’s Hostel).
Ichi the Killer was one the very first Takashi films I watched, and the entire film left me confused as well as shocked. Let’s just say if you are new to his films, this isn’t the one you should start with until you understand his style and his intentions as a film maker. In this scene, we see Kakihara slice off his tongue and offer it to the head Yakuza boss of a rival gang. He does this to make restitution with him because Kakihara tortured an innocent member of his by suspending him with hooks, shoving metal yakitori skewers through his body, and pouring boiling oil on him. In Yakuza tradition, members slice off their thumb if they disgrace the gang too many times, since it’s the most important finger, but Takashi always wants to show things in the most extreme manner, and really emphasize the craziness that lurks inside Kakihara. The sound of the slice during the scene makes it even more gut-wrenching.
No.4 Combo, just leave him!
This Is England (2006) – UK
This Is England centers around a group of young skinheads in England from the early ‘80s. Shane Meadows illustrates that skinhead subculture, whose roots go as far back as the ‘60s, include elements of black culture, especially ska, soul, and reggae music was adopted by white nationalist, which led to divisions within the skinhead community.
Not all films need gore or over-the-top violence to recreate the shock effect. This concluding scene between Combo and Milky from This Is England is a perfect example of this. When mixing the right combination of music, emotions, and violence likeShane Meadows did, you will see how effective these elements can be to create an emotional shock ride full of hatred and anger.
This scene happens moments after Milky (Andrew Shim) and Combo (Stephen Graham) bond over a conversation they have while drugged up on cannabis. Milky expresses how great the food is that his mother makes and their relationship as a family. Combo is agitated by Milky and his race, after calling him a nigger and violently beating Milky unconscious. A remorseful Combo seeks out Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) for help in getting him to the hospital.
Note: the voices in the video above are slightly off from the original.
No.3 Running out of luck!
I Saw the Devil (2010) – South Korea
If you read the synopsis for I Saw the Devil you would almost mistaken it for a Chan-wook Park film, who previously directed three revenge films including Oldboy. Oddly this one is directed by Kim Ji-woon (The Good, the Bad, the Weird, and A Tale of Two Sisters) who also casts the multi talented South Korean actor Min-sik Choi as Kyung-chul (the killer).
In a short summary, the story follows a psychopathic serial killer who murders young women and children in diabolical ways for pleasure. This character is as evil as the one Min-sik Choi plays in Lady Vengeance, I’d like to add. One evening, Kyung-chul kills a woman whose fiance is a top-secret agent who is determined to track him down. Soo-hyun is ready to do anything in his power to make this happen, even if it means he must become a monster himself.
This scene happens moments after Soo-hyun lets Kyung-chul free another time (this happens a few times throughout the film). Kyung-chul is left alone alongside a road in middle of nowhere. A taxi pulls up with two strange men, and they exchange a few words until Kyung-chul realizes the cab driver is the wrong cabi — apparently other killers just like Kyung-chul. He laughs momentarily (realizing how the hell he will get out of the situation) and proceeds in a blade fight with between the two. The scene is shockingly incredible with a 360-degree camera movement around the men, and it really feels like a fight for your dear life. Oddly enough, this is the only moment you actually think Kyung-chul is cool.
No.2 This is a new genre, Milos! Newborn porn!
A Serbian Film (2010) – Serbia
A Serbian Film (original title Srpski film) is probably one the most over-the-top shock films made in recent years in terms of subject matter (probably equivalent to Salò, and graphically comparable to ). It puts 8mm to shame, another film about snuff that stars Nicolas Cage and Joaquin Phoenix.
Basically, the theme in A Serbian Film is about pedophilia and necrophilia, and can only be viewed by those who have been desensitized by extreme subjects — like the Serbs who have dealt with crap in their country for over 20 years. The entire film is considered a metaphor by writer Aleksandar Radivojevic of the political situation in Serbia.
In this scene we see Vukmir (the snuff film director) show Miloš a film project he made with Rasa (Vukmir’s driver) helping a women give birth to a baby girl. Rasa then rapes the baby in what the director calls “newborn porn.” Brutal, sick and shocking, right? Since the entire film has many bestial scenes, too many to list, it was actually a tough call to chose between the ending, and this. If you are curious, you will have to watch the film for yourself.
Overall, this isn’t a film you can watch with a group of friends on a Friday night and have a blast. You would have to jump over to a film by Lucio Fulci or Umberto Lenzi for a few scares, and giggles. Also, don’t mistake this film as a horror, it really isn’t; it’s more a drama straight out of hell said by director Srdjan Spasojevic.
No.1 Do you know what your parents did?
Martyrs (2008) – France/Canada
I have to admit that Alexandre Aja was the director to push me toward French horror with Switchblade Romance (Haute Tension). It was the bloodiest film I saw during the time of its release. I strongly believe it was the film that fueled a spring of modern extreme horror films from France like Calvaire, Frontier(s), and Inside to name a few.
Martyrs, directed by Pascal Laugier is not just another addition to the list, but it’s the one that is most shocking to this day, some might even say it’s the most ferocious film ever made (as labeled on the Blu-ray/DVD). This scene shows Lucie burst into the families home 15 years after being physically tortured by the two parents for a lengthy period of time in a disused abattoir. Everyone gets killed, including the kids, with a shotgun. Overall, this is very similar to the nightmare Nazi demon scene in An American Werewolf in London, but much more dramatic. I guess Lucie definitely ain’t no Justin Bieber fan, either (note the similarities in the victim). I honestly don’t understand why Lucie kills the kids, but it surely leaves you thinking if they knew anything about the tortures. This summer I can’t wait to see how extreme Pascal will go with Jessica Biel in his upcoming film The Tall Man.